Tag Archives: The Park hotel

A Trip to Welsh Wales. Part 6.

Bet you thought (or hoped) that part 6 was never coming…but here it is.

A lot happened between posts and with the World Cup in full swing,  blogging was put on the back burner till today.

I had a cancer scare, found I’ve the beginning of cataracts and am probably diabetic. On the up side, my back is a lot better and I’m still loving my new wok !

So on with Part 6 of my short trip to Welsh Wales and really it’s a bit of an anti-climax as I just spent my last afternoon on Tenby beach. After all the walking and climbing that went before, I really needed a restful afternoon before the drive back to Leeds the next morning.

By the time I’d had a shower in my Cottage Court hotel room and walked the half mile down Narberth Road (A478) to the beach , it was almost 3pm.

This was the view that greeted me and considering how busy Tenby gets in peak season, it was a different story in mid May. Brilliant. It’s the perfect time to be there, unless you want to actually swim in the water as that was a tad cold for all but the most hardy of swimmers……and kids.

20180518_145629

Before hitting the beach, I walked along the promenade and bought a meal deal at the Tesco Express in town – a bottle of Cherry Pepsi Max, a sandwich and a slice of cake.

Healthy stuff.

Then I went down to beach level and found a sheltered recess at the large rock you can see better in the first photo. I set up my camping chair and tucked into my snack. As you can see, there wasn’t much happening on the beach to keep me amused so after finishing the sandwich and cake, I got out my Kindle Fire to have a read.

20180518_152632

It quickly became clear that reading wasn’t going to be an option as, no matter how I tried to shield it, I just couldn’t see the text on the screen.

I gave up and as there was no one around to annoy, I listened to the Radio 2 app on my phone and chilled in the warm sunshine for a couple of hours.

Now and again I’d hear voices as people strolled past along the shoreline but for the most part, I felt like Robinson Crusoe on a bus man’s holiday !   I may have nodded off for a while as it was my nap time after all and by 5pm I was ready to leave my rock and get some exercise before supper in town.

I decided to walk to the far end of the beach where I knew that there was a steep (semi) private path up to The Park Hotel as I’d stayed at the hotel with friends a few times in the past. A casual beach walker would see the wall to the left in this photo and think that the beach ended there with no option but to return the way they’d come.

20180518_171906

As I approached the wall, I came upon this fisherman who seemed to be letting his rod, line and the water do all the hard work.

My kind of fishing.

20180518_171952

Continuing my walk, to my left was the start of the path up to The Park Hotel. I wasn’t going to include this photo but as it does kinda show where I was at the time, I’ve added it.

It’s a panorama shot and if you can imagine that the “end of beach wall” shown in a previous photo was at my back, this is the view looking towards the town. The rising concrete area to the right is the start of the path but as you leave it and start the climb, it becomes a single forest type track , almost overgrown in places.

20180518_172424

And VERY steep !  When I first used this path a decade or so ago, I could manage it with little effort. Not so now !

Back in the day, staff from the hotel would bring drinks, snacks and even full afternoon tea down to guests on the area of the beach near to the path. I can’t imagine the staff members liking this task much as even young ones would soon tire, literally, of going up and down the path carrying food and drink for those pampered guests.

Once on the concrete starting point, I noticed someone had etched the town name onto the sand and thus created a sort of postcard photo opportunity – which I took.

20180518_172553

After several stops along the climb, I finally got to the top and was badly in need of oxygen, a drink and a team of paramedics.

Still breathing heavily, I took a short video of the Italian looking seating area before me and here is a still from that video. I’d dumped my stuff and pulled a chair forward so that after the video, I could collapse onto it to both have a much needed rest and also to enjoy the stunning view back down to the beach and beyond.

vlcsnap-00006

20180518_173857

Once rested, I walked the last few paces to the hotel and went in to have a few words with the receptionist who I’d spoken with on my arrival in Tenby days earlier. Ok so I really wanted to use the hotel’s wifi to send the video clip to my friends in Leeds who have stayed at the hotel every year since 1896 or something and will be there again in August !

By now it was close to 7pm so there was little point in returning to MY hotel only to go back down into town for a meal, so I headed off into Tenby for some traditional fish and chips again at Fecci’s …..here it is in a screen print from Google Street view.

Fecci's Of Tenby

There were tables set out where that red van is on the left so I got my meal as a takeout and ate it out in the fresh air. Can’t beat fish and chips at the seaside.

It was a lovely evening so after the meal, I wandered around the town as it would be my last chance to do so on this trip. When I finally decided to call it a day, I still couldn’t resist a couple more shots of the beach area as it’s just so damned picturesque, especially when the tide is in at the harbour.

20180518_184214

20180518_184328

The rising tide had already covered my rock cove so it seemed a good time to head back up to the Cottage Court hotel to prepare for the after breakfast start home in the morning.

I watched a few shows on the laptop before bedtime and 10 hours later was down in the breakfast room to fill up on a full English before setting off.

As I wanted the most direct route home, I just let Waze direct me and as I already knew that the route would take me only a mile or so from friends in Wrexham, I’d arranged to drop in.

So I set off at 9:45am and as it was a Saturday, the roads were quite clear. By 1pm I was at Keith & Jen’s house for lunch (thanks guys). Initially their dog, Toby, wasn’t too happy to see me but after a while, and with some treats, he stopped barking and we’re now friends on Facebook !

20180519_131555a

The rest of the drive home was mostly on motorways and so I was home at 4:50pm, 25 minutes before the start of the FA Cup Final which had been on my mind when I set off from Tenby, 253 miles earlier.

All in all, over the 5 day trip, I’d only driven 790 miles but then, it wasn’t my usual type of road trip as most of it was spent in and around Tenby.

I’d highly recommend the Cottage Court Hotel to anyone spending time in the Tenby area and just about everywhere around the Pembrokeshire coast is stunning. Once again I’d been very fortunate with the weather considering the time of year and the short time away has encouraged me to plan for another Euro road trip this summer…….after the World Cup of course.

Cefais amser gwych yng Nghymru a gobeithiaf ddychwelyd eto’n fuan.    

 

Advertisements

A Trip to Welsh Wales. Part 3.

This blog is a bit like a US tv series – you don’t know how many episodes there will be and it could be cancelled at any time if ratings go down.

Hell I’ve already lasted longer than Roseanne !

Then again I’m a sweet little old man who wouldn’t say boo to a goose (why WOULD you do that ?) and certainly wouldn’t say anything controversial.  Maybe I should turn to the dark side and make this blog like a biography and name names and reveal dirty deeds before I pass on.

I think my all boy, priest run, Catholic boarding school back in the 60’s would be a juicy place to start.

But then that sweet little old man says….NO.  Talk about Wales instead.

And so Wednesday 16th dawned in slightly hazy Clun in Shropshire (I know, I know. Keep your panties on…..I’ll be back in Wales soon). After a night of tossing and even more turning on that single bed, I was feeling a bit hazy too. I did console myself that I couldn’t fall out of the bed as the opposite wall would stop me !

I couldn’t face the bathroom with its thousands of tiny multicoloured tiles at that time of the day so as I’d had a shower the previous week, there was no need to go mad and have another today.

So I stumbled, literally, down the narrow twisty stairs in this old farmhouse to greet my newly found eating partners from the previous evening and we drank our breakfast together. I say drank because the sausage, bacon and eggs were still swimming in oil or lard or goose grease (or a combination of them all) from the frying pan and in 20 minutes, I’d undone all the hard work of my cardiothoracic surgeon 25 years ago.

With my stomach full and my arteries narrowed, I paid the lady £50 and went upstairs to prepare to depart. I heard the couple leaving and a few minutes later the cook lady shouted up that she too was leaving and could I lock the main door on my way out and pop the keys through the letterbox.

I decided there and then that if I had my life over again, I’d be a b&b owner as clearly you can make money without ever lifting a finger.

Back out on the B4368 heading east, the plan was to take a circuitous, but scenic, route across the Shropshire Hills and then the Malvern Hills as both were designated as areas of outstanding natural beauty – or AONB for short.

And they jolly well were.

The haze had left both me and the sky and it was another glorious morning.  The village names were delightful and even if I wasn’t passing through many of them, just reading their names on the signposts was a joy.

Aston on Clun (lazily twinned with Clun I felt), Clungunford (like Clun but with more NRA members), Hayton’s Bent (bit personal that one), Cold Weston (best avoided in Winter then),  Downton Castle (not a series yet), Neen Sollars (pass), Frog Pool (pass again) and by the time I saw the sign for Shelsley Walsh, I realised they were just being lazy and naming villages after whoever had the most amusing name !

After several hours of very pleasant driving, the sign for Lyne Down seemed like an omen so I headed for the next large town, Ross-on-Wye for a bit of a break and to have lunch.

Ross-on-Wye is in Herefordshire, another new county for me as I’d never been to this part of England before and yes, yes…….Wales is coming up soon.  Be patient.

It’s a lovely small market town (pop about 11,000) but with several steep streets which certainly stretched my leg muscles after all that time in the car. I had a good look around and despite the temptation to try a bit of yak, I decided to have a Subway sandwich and used some of the points on my phone app to get a foot long something or other and eat half there and then and have the other half along the road, so to speak.

20180516_134000

20180516_134108

At this point in the post I should say I have a slight problem with WordPress. Several years ago I switched from Blogspot as I felt my text and photos were presented better on WordPress. As you know, I load up lots of photos in my posts and I found I only had a free space allocation of 3gbs before needing to pay a monthly fee to get more.

My free allocation is now at 91.8% so as each photo takes up 0.1%, I’ll have to make a decision soon.  Pay for more space or go along deleting existing photos starting with the earliest. I think it would be sad to read one of my old posts with the photos missing but then again, probably no one reads them anyway.

I’ll have to have a think about that one. Maybe I’ll start a GoFundMe page !

Back on the road in Herefordshire, I made the decision to get to Tenby (in Wales….woohoo) by the most direct yet scenic route I could find as I felt I was getting off track a bit in England. This was supposed to be a Wales road trip after all.  I “forced” the Waze app to do this for me by inputting various town names and having several mini legs rather than just a direct drive to Tenby.

Amusingly this took me in and out of England/Wales many times as the border line weaves its merry way across the map as if ye olde planners dropped it and pissed off to ye olde pub for the rest of ye olde meeting.

My journey took me along the Wye Valley, another AONB, and I just guessed when I was in Wales when the names had lots of double lls, started with Aber or were basically unpronounceable.

Lush !

I dipped a toe in the Brecon Beacons National Park which deserved a day or more on its own but I was now a man on a mission, a driven man so to speak – although really I was the one doing the driving. I wanted to be in Tenby. After all this inland driving, the sea was calling to me. In Welsh.

Time for another “squirrel” moment.

My bestie friend here in Leeds (soon to be deserting me and moving to Skipton) has been going to Tenby AND staying at the same hotel, The Park Hotel,  every summer (and a few other times) since 1897….ok 1966 when she had her 10th birthday there with her family. Marriage and senility haven’t dampened her love of Tenby and that hotel and so I wanted to turn the tables and be in Tenby and send back photos to make her jealous.

Yes I’m that kind of friend !

Approaching the town I decided it would be hard to find a b&b with vacancies (I wasn’t staying at The Park Hotel) in such a popular resort even in mid May so I stopped of in nearby Saundersfoot to try and find a room for a couple of nights.

AirBnb was as helpful as before and all the places with b&b signs were full up. Not a good start. I drove on to Tenby to try my luck there and of course my first port of call had to be The Park Hotel so I could send my first photos back to Leeds.

Wicked.

This photo of the hotel front was followed by simply turning to the left to get the view back down to the sweeping bay of Tenby’s North Beach.

20180516_17561620180516_175700

By then it was after 18:00 so I popped into reception and used the hotel’s wifi to look for b&b’s locally and finally found a place on the next street which was £50 per night via Booking.com.

(looking at the web site, it seems to have gone up to £60 now)

I thought I’d go there and see what the rate would be if I just turned up and was delighted to find that not only did they have availability, but the rate was £40 so I booked 2 nights.

It was the oddly named Cottage Court Hotel and I’d HIGHLY recommend it to anyone visiting Tenby. It’s really a family run b&b guest house as you only get breakfast but it has a bar (never saw anyone using it) and the 11 rooms are all en suite and spotless and the staff (family) are delightful and helpful.

20180516_185820

20180516_185853

20180516_185933

By now it was close to 19:00 so I just dumped my case and took the long steep, very steep, road down into the town for a look around and to get something to eat.

I’ve stayed in Tenby a few times and thanks to my friends, even in The Park Hotel so I was just revisiting all the places I knew so well.

Not as well as them obviously !

For a while I sat on a bench overlooking the picturesque harbour as the last rays of the setting sun bathed the pastel coloured houses in a warm glow.

20180516_195741

The tide was in and all the small boats which are left high and dry when it’s out, were bobbing about as if anxious to be on adventures on the open sea beyond the safety of the harbour walls.

Or maybe just bobbing…cause they’re just boats.

P1040607

P1040611

Speaking of boats, a short boat ride from Tenby harbour lies Caldey Island and I might as well let Wikipedia take it from here………

Caldey (Welsh:Ynys Bŷr) is a small island off the southwest coast of mainland Wales, near Tenby in Pembrokeshire. With a recorded history going back over 1,500 years, it is known as one of the holy islands of Britain. A number of traditions inherited from Celtic times are observed by the Cistercian monks, who are the chief inhabitants and owners of the island today.

At its closest point, Caldey lies 0.6 miles (1 km) south of the mainland, though the usual access to the island is by small boat from the town of Tenby, some 2.5 miles (4 km) to the north.

The island’s population consists of 40 permanent residents and a varying number of Cistercian monks, known as Trappists. The monks’ predecessors migrated there from Belgium in the early 20th century, taking over from Anglican Benedictines who had bought the island in 1906 and built the extant monastery and abbey but later got into financial difficulties. Today, the monks of Caldey Abbey farm the island, chiefly raising dairy cattle, and make a range of items including cheese, shortbread, perfumes, chocolate and toiletries.

In the spring and summer, visitors are ferried to Caldey, not only to visit the sacred sanctuary but also to view the island’s rich wildlife.

So there you have it. I took a couple of photos of it from Tenby using the full 600mm of my Lumix bridge camera which as you can see, can take photos of islands as well as bridges.

A little photographic humour there.

P1040614

P1040622

Closer to Tenby, just a stone’s throw in fact, lies St. Catherine’s Island & Fort and again, you can click on this wikipedia link to learn more about it.

With the setting sun giving it a golden hue, it was worthy of a few photos before I needed to head off to eat a late supper.

20180516_203136

P1040621

Being by the sea, supper had to be fish and chips and so I asked some locals for a recommendation and all agreed that the “legendary” Fecci’s on Lower Frog Street was the place, or plaice, to go to.

Once again I was outfaced by the portion size so either these places (like the kebab house) are very generous or my stomach has shrunk over the years.

And before you say it, I know it’s the former. Pah !

And then it was back to the hotel for a spot of telle watching via the laptop and then bed.

Another long day with plenty of walking up and down steep streets so I did enjoy the meals for fuel if nothing else. My plans now were to use Tenby as a base for further short drives around the area but as they say, more of that later.

End of Part 3.